Procurement irregularities: BJP demands action against Odisha govt officials, millers
The Centre is providing financial assistance of Rs 500 crore every year to the State, Rs 250 crore each for infrastructure development of mandis of RMCs and PACS.
BHUBANESWAR: As endless wait of farmers to sell paddy under price support system has spilled onto the streets in the form of protests in many parts of the State, the BJP on Monday demanded action against government officials, PACS functionaries and rice millers for undue delay in procurement of the produce.
Alleging a nexus between officials of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department and registered rice millers, BJP State vice-president and former MP Balabhadra Majhi said a particular group of farmers are getting tokens ahead of others and given the chance to sell their stock for multiple times while sharecroppers, small and marginal farmers are victimised by mandi functionaries.
“Some middlemen and agents of rice millers, who have registered their names as sharecroppers by forging documents, are reaping the benefits. These are the people who get token first and sell paddy beyond their actual marketable surplus. This is the situation every where. As a result, tokens issued to genuine farmers are getting lapsed as their stocks are not lifted on the allotted dates,” Majhi said.
Dubbing the online token system as opaque, he requested Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain to verify the list of farmers to find out how many of them are actual farmers and sharecroppers.
The Centre is providing financial assistance of Rs 500 crore every year to the State, Rs 250 crore each for infrastructure development of mandis of RMCs and PACS. Barring a few, major mandis of the State lacked basic infrastructure for determination of fair average quality (FAQ) of paddy. The rice millers are taking the advantage and dictating terms during paddy procurement, he alleged.
“The Minister is talking of transparency but the rice millers are deciding which paddy meet the FAQ norms. Farmers bringing paddy to the mandis have to forgo the cost of 5-7 kg towards ‘katni chatni’ and the booty is shared by millers and officials,” Majhi said.